Centre-back Gilly Flaherty has been a rock for West Ham United since joining the club in summer 2018.
The 28-year-old London-born defender was given the captain’s armband by The Hammers boss Matt Beard and she has not let her manager down, displaying all of the physical and mental qualities required to lead West Ham United’s steady transition towards becoming an established club in the FA Women’s Super League.
Flaherty’s manager Beard once labelled the her as ‘the best ball-playing centre-back’ that he has ever worked with during a coaching and managerial career which has now spanned out for over a decade. With the FA Women’s Super League currently suspended, we look back at the facts and figures of Flaherty’s season so far to see how it compares to her teammates.
The player has been an ever-present for The Hammers in the FA Women’s Super League this season. Flaherty has featured in all 14 league fixtures for the East Londoners, a total of 1260 minutes of action. She is only one of four West Ham United players to clock up more than 1000 minutes of league football this season, she shares this achievement with fellow defenders Laura Vetterlein (1140) and Katharina Baunach (1043 minutes) and midfielder Kenza Dali (1168 minutes). Only Dali has joined Flaherty in featuring in every league game, although the 22-time capped French international has twice come on as a substitute.
Flaherty has also been fielded as a key player for her club in the domestic cups. She has played in five out of West Ham United’s six ties in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup and Women’s FA Cup. The only game which she has missed so far this season is the 1-0 FA Women’s Continental League Cup victory at Reading in November. Despite her absence for that game, only former Hammer Brooke Hendrix played more minutes than Flaherty for West Ham United in this season’s competition.
One word that describes Flaherty is ‘perfectionist’, nothing other than the very best for West Ham United will do for the player. In the 14 FA Women’s Super League games in which Flaherty has featured, her side have conceded an average of 2.43 goals per game. It is the second-worst defensive record in the division and one which she will be seriously hoping to see her side improve once the action recommences. The defender will have joined West Ham United to play at the higher level of the FA Women’s Super League and she will no doubt demand more from both herself and her defensive colleagues to ensure that the club get there.
Flaherty is the type of player that teams are built around and West Ham United fans will hope that she is a part of the fixtures and fittings at Rush Green for many years to come.